Trauma-informed and Equipped for the Field: Implementing a Trauma Studies Curriculum in a BSW Program
Keywords:Trauma-Informed Care, Trauma Education, Social Work, BSW Education, Curriculum
It has long been recognized that there is a high prevalence of trauma exposure in client populations served by social workers. The recent (current) pandemic underscores the universality of trauma exposure, not only for clients but for generalist practice social workers. Experiencing trauma impacts the client-worker relationship and client outcomes, which makes it critical to address at an early point in social workers’ education. Implementing a trauma-informed care (TIC) model is becoming the standard of care, despite many social workers not receiving comprehensive, explicit education about trauma until reaching their master’s level education courses. By equipping the baccalaureate level social worker with trauma-specific education, they are better equipped to respond to clients and to be prepared for the impact of their clients’ trauma on their own lives. Offering trauma-courses at the baccalaureate level for social work students offers them opportunity to better serve their clients, recognize organizational practices that support trauma-informed care, and manage their own self care practice. In this paper, the author examines the rationale for, and outlines the creation and implementation of three trauma-specific courses at the baccalaureate social work education level.